Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who also heads Corporate Affairs Ministry, said the immediate priority is to get the proposed amendments to the Companies Act passed by Parliament. His comments come at a time when the government is working to improve the ease of doing business in the country. In an apparent dig at the previous regime, Jaitley said it is very rare that amendments are required to an Act in the very next year of its passage.
Most of the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013, that replaces nearly six-decade old laws governing corporates in the country, came into force from April 1, 2014. The new Act was passed by Parliament in 2013 during the previous UPA government’s regime. Referring to the proposed amendments in the Act, Jaitley said, “very rarely we have an Act drafted in 2013 requires an amendment in 2014 and 2015”.
There are a huge number of procedural difficulties and some of the immediate amendments, which have been cleared by the Lok Sabha, would be placed before the Rajya Sabha. “Simultaneously (we will) also constitute a group which will keep reviewing the functioning of the Act to realise where the shoe pinches,” the Minister said. Addressing industry body CII’s annual general meeting here, Jaitley said his immediate roadmap, after having cleared a large number of legislative and executive steps, is certainly going to be constitutional amendment to Goods and Services Tax as well as changes to the Companies Act.
In December 2014, the Lok Sabha passed amendments to the Companies Act and the bill is pending in the Rajya Sabha. According to the Corporate Affairs Ministry, which is implementing the Act, changes have been proposed to address the “practical difficulties experienced by stakeholders in the actual implementation of some of the provisions of the Act”.